Chennai's first bouldering gym just opened at Mandaveli
Bored of going to a regular ol’ gym? Go bouldering instead. Chennai’s first indoor bouldering gym promises to rock your fitness world quite literally, minus those mind-numbing exercise reps. Instead of going through the motions on auto pilot, owner Shyam Sundar tells us that at the week-old Fit Rock Arena, you are “problem solving” with every step of the climb. From years of experience as a climbing enthusiast, he shares, “There is a heightened sense of awareness as you set down your foot or grab a hand hold.” We don't have to try it to believe him because he follows this up with, “Unlike rock climbing, there are no harnesses for support.” It’s just you, a sweaty grip and a 12-foot wall.
Don’t worry, there’s a seven-inch crash pad made of foam for a soft landing in case you slip. Or perhaps, just want the easy way down, like we did.
The 900-square foot space, located a stone’s throw away from the Mandaveli MRTS, is a more compact, city-centric cousin to Shyam’s earlier set up (for rock climbing) by the same name, in Pallikaranai that opened a year-and-a-half-ago. Bouldering however, comes with some distinctions such as climbing on large boulders, or small rock formations at less intimidating heights (less than 20 feet as opposed to 50 feet). But do not underestimate this sport by its seemingly junior level heights — it has already made it to the new additions list for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
As for amateurs back in Mandaveli, there are four grades of varying difficulty and 60 routes to track. And if you find yourself without a cheering squad on your first attempt, a striking dragon from the house of Targaryen promises to keep you fired up. “All our walls have been painted with symbols from the houses on Game of Thrones, I’m a big fan as is everybody else I know,” Shyam relates with a chuckle.
Fit Rock Arena is located within the Bamboola premises at 73, Venkata Krishna Road, RA Puram. Cost: Rs 3,000 per month or Rs 450 for an hour-long session. Open to ages five upwards. Details: 99623-57035
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